|That's me in 1988.|
Let me explain a couple things about the picture...
1) The school photographer came and suggested we take action shots. In all my years of "playing" basketball, this was usually all the action (outside of practice) that I got.
2) For years, I HATED this picture. I didn't hate it because my coach gave me a scowl and a head shake for doing it, but because I was certain I looked fat.
Seriously. I tried to talk my mother into liposuction after getting that picture back. She refused, of course.
While studying to be a mental health counselor in college, I had to write a weight loss program that could be used as group therapy.
I decided I'd make a plan that put self-love first. My weekly group would focus on the whole woman, not just a number on a scale.
Part one was the interest component:
Everyone has a passion...they just need to identify it. My group would require its members to explore interests. I'd bring in people to discuss different hobbies until each person found something that excited her.
Part two was the beauty component:
There would also be a beauty component to the group. I mean, everyone likes to look pretty, right? Wouldn't my weight loss group benefit from beauty tips by bringing in make up specialists, hair dressers, and fashion experts? I thought so.
Part three was the health component:
Lastly, there would be a focus on health. Not weight. Health. I know skinny people who maintain their weight through diet drinks and cigarettes. That's hardly better than being a chunk, right? The group would explore healthy eating and exercise habits. My group would play fun games like badminton or basketball. We'd share recipes that were not only delicious, but healthy. And everyone would be responsible for sharing and coming up with organizing games. That way planning and execution becomes a habit for them too.
So, that, in a nut shell (the original proposal was about twenty pages long) was my plan.
I got a C on it.
My professor's comment on the grading page was, "It sounds like a fun group, but you didn't make a weight loss group".
I took my paper to his office and argued for my plan. I told him I fully believed America's obsession with weight was exactly what was making us fat. If we stopped worrying constantly about what we looked like and simply started living healthy, full lives, we'd have much better chances of reaching an ideal weight than by spending a whole day counting calories and loathing the bodies we have.
We shouldn't have to wait to be a certain size to enjoy the hell out of life and feel beautiful.
My logic worked a little. I was able to bump my C to a B.
I couldn't get my A because, as he said, I didn't put the focus on weight loss.
It's been twenty years since I lost that argument, but I still think I'm right.
Any time I obsess over my weight, I gain weight. Then I feel awful about myself and beat myself up, and then I gain even more weight. This summer was one of those times when bad habits returned with a vengeance. I was back to my old obsessed self.
Once again, I am back to trying to re-orient my brain and remind myself that it's not all about weight. It's about living an active, healthy life without the negative self-talk.
Here's a few tips that help me:
1. Add calories rather than subtracting them. Try to eat at least ten servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The body often confuses thirst for hunger, so we find ourselves nibbling when we really need to be drinking. And a body filled with enough water helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles!
3. Swap food. Where you can, switch from the higher calorie option to the lower calorie. I swapped turkey pepperoni for regular pepperoni and don't miss the original.
4. Keep a food journal. Writing down what I eat helps me make the connection between mindless eating and real hunger. It also helps me keep track of my fruit/veggie/water count.
5. Start counting productive movement. My grandmother baptized her sixth child in a size 8 dress and she never went to the gym a day in her life. What she had was an active to do list. Gardening, cleaning, and walking places instead of driving kept her fit and trim. My grandmother was almost a little over 80 years old when she stopped mowing her own lawn!
Finally, be kind to your body. Like it or not, it's the only one you'll get.
How about you? Any suggestions or tips?